Not all smartphones are created to be pretty, and fragile. There are some out there that are made to be rugged and take a beating. That's exactly what Blackview has created here with the BV6000. This is a pretty rugged smartphone, that's also waterproof. Now seeing a smartphone like the BV6000 here isn't something new. But typically these "rugged" smartphones sport pretty low-end specs, and an old version of Android. That's something that the BV6000 does not. Making it a great smartphone for those that are in the construction space, or just need a rugged smartphone. With a great spec sheet, and being rugged, is that enough for the BV6000 to really stand out? Let's find out.
Blackview has put in some pretty decent specs inside the BV6000. This includes a 4.7-inch 1280x720 resolution display, powered by the MediaTek Helio P10 processor (which is a quad-core Cortex-A53 2.0GHz, and a quad-core Cortex-A53 1.0GHz cluster), with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Dimensions of the BV6000 are 81mm x 152.3mm x 16.6mm, and it weighs a hefty 247 grams. It's powered by a non-removable 4500mAh battery and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
As far as the cameras go, we're looking at the OmniVision OV13853 sensor on the back, which is a 13-megapixel sensor (interpolated resolution is 16MP) with an f/2.2 aperture. It can also shoot 1080p video at 30 FPS. The front-facing camera here is a 5-megapixel shooter, with an aperture of f/2.2and the interpolated resolution here is 8MP.
For location tracking, the Blackview BV6000 utilizes GPS, A-GPS, and GLONASS. WiFi connectivity includes 802.11 b/g/n, as well as WiFi Direct and WiFi Hotspot. Bluetooth 4.1 and A2DP is thrown in for good measure, and it is charged up using a micro USB connector. Now inside the BV6000, there is a dual-SIM card slot, this is micro SIM card for both slots, and it supports the following bands.
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
W-CDMA: 900, 1900, 2100
LTE: 800, 1800, 2100, 2600
In the Box
Inside the box, Blackview has included the large BV6000 right on top. Below that cardboard insert, there is a wall adapter, micro USB to USB cable, as well as a micro USB to a female USB cable, which can come in handy. There's also a pair of earbuds that are inside. These aren't expensive earbuds, so don't expect them to be amazing. On the other side of the box, there are a slew of guides included. This also includes a quick start guide for getting the most out of your new smartphone.
Hardware & Build Quality
Obviously, the BV6000 is not a "pretty" looking smartphone, and it's not meant to be. This is meant to be a smartphone that you can take on a camping trip, or to a construction site. It's meant to withstand drops, even in water. So it's not going to be a pretty looking phone, but it needs to be functional. And that it is. As mentioned in the specs section already, the BV6000 is a thick smartphone, like really thick. It's 16.6mm thick, which for comparison, you could take three Moto Z smartphones and stack them on top of each other and it would still be thinner than the BV6000. Luckily, Blackview did opt to put in a rather large battery inside this smartphone, to fill out that space. Which no one will complain about.
The BV6000 is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. And if you ever forget, it's actually shown on the front of the phone, just below the capacitive keys. We did dunk it in some water, during the review process, but that was really the most we went with testing the water resistance. You see, if you drop it in a body of water, the likelihood of you getting that smartphone back is pretty low. But we are happy to say that with all the flaps closed, the BV6000 did survive some water and worked perfectly well after being taken out of the water. Which is always good to see, even though it is technically IP68 rated, it may not survive a drop. As we've seen with the Galaxy S7 Active as of late.
Blackview went a pretty interesting route with the frame here for the BV6000. It's not completely plastic nor completely aluminum. But basically a hybrid of both. The left and right sides are metal. Which feels good in the hand, especially when using the buttons on both sides. While the rest is plastic, and can take a few bumps and bruises. Each corner has a bumper, which will take some impact, instead of damaging the display or the internals of the BV6000. That does make the phone heavier and thicker, but it's all worth it in the end. Considering you are buying this phone because it is rugged, and not because of the way it looks.
There are quite a few buttons on the left and right side here. So on the right side, there are the volume and power buttons, each one is individual, so there is no "volume rocker" here. The left side houses a dedicated camera button, PTT and SOS buttons. The buttons are all fairly clicky, and feel good when you're clicking them. They don't feel mushy like some might. The headphone jack is at the top with the micro USB port at the bottom. Surprisingly, there are flaps over both of these. It's a bit surprising since both Sony and Samsung have waterproof smartphones that don't use flaps to cover either of these ports. But that also might lead to the higher price tag on those smartphones.
The back of the device has the camera in the left corner with the flash next to it. Below that you'll see a small door with the "Blackview" logo and some other information on it. That door houses the micro SD and SIM card slots. Which isn't easy to take off, and that is likely due to the phone being waterproof and staying waterproof. On the front of the phone, we're looking at some mighty large bezels, as well as capacitive buttons below the display. These include menu, home and back. Unfortunately there's no recent apps button here, and just a menu key. You'll have to long-press the home button to get to your recent apps.
While most of the other specs on this phone are pretty decent, the display seems to suffer a bit. It's a pretty small, 4.7-inch display that features a 720p resolution. Now because the display is so small, the pixel density is still pretty high. So you won't be seeing any individual pixels here on the BV6000, which is always a good thing. The display can get very bright, and because it's an LCD display, it looks great in direct sunlight, as we did test that during the review period. Our only big complaint about the display is the fact that there are these huge bezels all around it. Making the already small display, seem even smaller.
The digitizer is always important and it appears to work fairly well here. There were a few hiccups here and there when using the BV6000, but it's likely due to some software issues. Otherwise, we didn't have any problem using the smartphone over the past week. There is support for MiraVision here, which allows the user to customize aspects of the display to their liking. this includes things like the contrast, picture brightness, saturation, sharpness and color temperature. During the review, we left it on "Vivid" which is one of two modes that doesn't involve the user messing with the settings mentioned above.
Looking at the spec sheet for the Helio P10 which powers the BV6000, it looks to be on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617. Which was in a number of recently reviewed devices here at Android Headlines like the Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus and ZTE ZMAX PRO. It performed pretty well, but did get quite warm. When it comes to the Helio P10, it outperforms the Snapdragon 617. Part of that is due to the higher clock-speed on the Helio P10. The BV6000 was quite speedy. Now it's not as speedy as what you would get out of MediaTek's Helio X20 or X25, but still pretty decent. Of course, having that 3GB of RAM to back it up does definitely help.
Speaking of RAM, 3GB is probably on the low-end of what you'd expect in a smartphone in late 2016. But thanks to how well Android works with such little RAM, it works very well. We never had issues with the device running out of RAM - or having to reload up applications that were in recents - nor did we have any issues with it stuttering at all. The Blackview BV6000 took everything we threw at it like a champ.
Speaker & Audio
Unfortunately, the BV6000 does indeed have a rear-facing speaker. But, luckily, it's almost impossible to cover it up and force the sound to come out muffled. That's largely thanks to how thick the BV6000 really is. Even when sitting the device on a table, the sound still doesn't come out muffled from the back-end. Which is pretty nice. Not to mention the audio is pretty loud. That's something that people who are audiophiles are going to love, but the thing they won't love is the fact that the audio does come out a bit tinny. But again, if you're buying this phone, you're probably not an audiophile.
Battery life is pretty insane here. We haven't seen battery life this good on a smartphone since the Oukitel K6000 Pro earlier this summer. Of course, you'd expect that here with the BV6000 since you're looking at a 4500mAh battery, but the smartphone has a 4.7-inch 720p display. Let's not forget the fact that the Helio P10 just sips power, allowing you to get some incredible battery life. You could likely get around 6-7 hours of on-screen time out of this smartphone on a single charge. That's something you can't say about smartphones that are in the $600+ price range unfortunately.
Now the BV6000 has a huge battery, but there's no fast charging technology here, at least that Blackview touts. We did plug it into our Quick Charge 3.0 wall adapter here (remember it is backwards compatible with Quick Charge 2.0, Quick Charge 1.0 and conventional charging) and it did charge it up pretty quick. Considering how large of a battery this smartphone has, any type of fast charging is definitely a good thing.
Phone Calls & Network
As usual, we used the Blackview BV6000 on T-Mobile USA during the review period. But, we do have to mention that the BV6000 only has bands that support T-Mobile USA on 2G and some 3G/HSPA+ networks. So there's no LTE connectivity here. Otherwise, the data speeds were about what you would expect, being on EDGE or 3G networks. Additionally, phone calls were about normal. We didn't experience any dropped calls through our time with the phone. It's also worth noting that there is no WiFi Calling nor VoLTE with T-Mobile on the BV6000, and that's due to the fact that this isn't a T-Mobile smartphone, nor a phone that's sold in the US.
With the Blackview BV6000, we ran 3D Mark, AnTuTu and Geekbench 3 and we got scores that were pretty comparable with other smartphones running the MediaTek Helio P10 processor along with 3GB of RAM. You'll notice that the AnTuTu score was at the bottom of the rankings, which is due to all the Snapdragon 820 and even Snapdragon 810-powered smartphones listed there.
Blackview has kept Android 6.0 Marshmallow fairly stock on the BV6000. As with most smartphones these days, there are a few changes here within the UI. The biggest one that you'll probably notice right away is the app drawer. There isn't one here. This means that all of your apps are living on your home screens. That's not everyone's cup of tea, but it works well for some. Another change you'll notice is the themed icons. All of the pre-installed apps have themed icons, but none of the ones you download do. Which can drive some people crazy. However, this is Android, so that is easy to fix. Just download a new launcher from the Google Play Store and slap on an icon pack (or you can just stick to the stock Marshmallow icons, depending on the launcher) and you're all set and ready to go.
The notification area will look familiar to you, if you've used Android 6.0 Marshmallow at all. It's mostly AOSP here, although the toggles are in orange and gray (orange when turned on and gray when off). They actually look pretty nice and is a nice change from stock Android. Of course, not everyone will agree there. Which is perfectly fine.
In the settings here, you do have the option to adjust how the SOS key works. Basically what happens here is that you can choose a SOS contact, which will be sent a message whenever you press the button. This is especially helpful when you need to get help but can't pull your phone out and call someone. Seeing as you don't even need to unlock the phone to do this. There's also a slew of off-screen gestures available here, including double tap to turn on the screen, swipe up to unlock, using a gesture to launch the camera and much more. The Blackview BV6000 is actually jampacked with gestures here.
When it comes to security patches, the BV6000 is running the March 1st, 2016 patch. Which is pretty sad. Given that we are now nearly five months past that security patch, Blackview should have pushed out a newer one by now. And what this means for users is that you may not see updates very often, and in some cases, perhaps none at all.
With the camera, there's not a whole lot going here. It's a pretty plain looking camera app, and sadly there isn't a whole lot of features hiding anywhere within the app. You have picture-in-picture or PIP mode, then panorama or automatic. There's no manual mode here at all, which isn't surprising, but it is unfortunate. Of course you do have options to adjust the exposure and white balance, but that is hidden in the settings and can definitely take a bit of time to get to. The one thing about this camera that really surprised me was the shutter speed. The shutter on this camera can take pictures very quickly. Which is pretty surprising, considering most smartphones in this price range have a rather slow shutter.
Pictures coming from this camera are pretty decent. Now they aren't going to be on par with high-end flagships, but they get the job done. These aren't pictures that you'll want to have printed out and blown up as posters either, but for posting on Instagram, Facebook and other social media, it'll do just fine. The colors do seem to be a bit off here, in some of these pictures, although that can usually be fixed with using different photo editing apps. You can see the images we took in the gallery below.
Durability: Now we weren't trying to break the BV6000 or test its limits, but we did drop it a few times. And it did perform as well as you'd expect.
Battery Life: With a 4500mAh battery inside, it does last quite a long time. Something that needs to be said about more smartphones these days.
Weight: Given how large and thick this phone is, I expected to be much heavier than it actually was. It feels light for how much phone is actually here.
IP68: It is indeed waterproof. We've seen this feature come to more and more smartphones, but it needs to be an industry standard.
Performance: The MediaTek Helio P10 and 3GB of RAM have performed beautifully for us throughout our review here of the BV6000.
Camera: It's decent, but these days, decent isn't good enough.
Display: obviously the focus in this smartphone is on durability, and unfortunately that means the display is rather low-resolution and you can definitely tell.
Capacitive buttons: In this day and age, we should no longer have a capacitive menu button. It should be a recents key, like modern versions of Android dictate.
The Blackview BV6000 is a pretty impressive smartphone, but not "impressive" in the ways you'd probably expect. The BV6000 can definitely take a beating and keep on ticking. If you dropped the BV6000 it wouldn't even have a mark on it. You do that with something like the Galaxy Note 7, and your phone will likely be shattered. Of course, we're looking at a phone that is meant to be a tank versus one that is covered in glass. So that makes perfect sense. The BV6000 was made for a niche audience, but one has to wonder, how big is this niche audience?
Should I buy the Blackview BV6000?
Plain and simple, the BV6000 isn't for everyone. That's not a bad thing, it's actually the beauty of Android. There are all kinds of choices available for everyone that is looking for a new smartphone. We have big, small, rugged, fragile smartphones and so much more. If you're someone who works in construction or even is someone who is a bit clumsy with their smartphone, then the BV6000 is a great choice. Especially since it does feature some rather high-end internals - if you don't mind a lower-resolution display. The BV6000 is also great for construction workers because it lasts all day, and then some.